Faith and human effort just don’t play well together. They get tangled up.
Quite frankly most believers are tangled up. Most believers are Galationized. That means we do what the churches of Galatia did, we mix the old covenant with the new covenant. Now come on. Don’t stop reading because you think I carelessly want to throw the Old Testament away. Hear me out. We believe in Jesus, but we also believe in ourselves. Paul the apostle called the Galatians out on this.
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the FLESH (human effort)? (Galatians 3:3)
But aren’t we supposed to believe in ourselves? Isn’t that healthy? No, absolutely not. Mixing faith in Jesus with faith in yourself will get you tangled up. You get snarled every time.
When you mix flesh (your work) and Spirit (God’s work), your life will look like your tangled Christmas lights from the year before. You laid them neatly in the box. The box sat i undisturbed for 11.5 months. How did they end up in such a jumbled mess? So instead of your tree assembly taking 20 minutes, you get to spend an afternoon trying to untangle the mess of lights and ornaments before you decorate. How does this happen? Who snuck up into the attic and tied the lights in knots?
That’s what happens to Christians. After a few years trying to live the Christian life through a mix of faith and human effort we end up with a twisted mess. We become tangled up believers with a sabotaged, tangled up faith. This is when many believers give up. Every Christmas I throw out the tangled up, maniacal mess of lights and buy new ones. Faith works better when it’s not being strangled by our efforts. Throw out that mess and start over.
I’ve had to do that…more than once in my life. I’ve had to sort out my simple faith relationship with Jesus from my efforts to serve Him.